Cheese Dreams Do Come True

September 30, 2015 05:59 AM

When Marieke and Rolf Penterman came to Wisconsin from the Netherlands, Marieke had the dream of starting her own on-farm cheese plant before the age of 30. She managed to beat her goal by 10 days when the creamy was opened at their farm in 2006.

Marieke and Rolf Penterman shared their story about Penterman Farm and Holland’s Family Cheese during a Virtual Farm Tour at World Dairy Expo sponsored by AgSource Cooperative Services.

The Pentermans moved to Thorp, Wis. in 2003 and started dairying in partnership with Rolf’s brother. By 2006 Marieke had earned her cheesemaker’s license and the family started buying processing equipment from the Netherlands to start a cheese making business.

By 2013, Marieke and Rolf had outgrown the creamery facilities at their first dairy and the decision was made to split the partnership and build a farm near town for better visibility.

Now the Pentermans are milking 370 cows and turning 30% of their milk into cheese that is sold nationally. The cheese has even made it back across the Atlantic Ocean and is being sold in Spain, Belgium and the United Kingdom. In the future, the cheese may come full circle and go back to the Netherlands where Marieke and Rolf first got their passion for the dairy industry.

Here is a further look at the operation:

  • Double-12 herringbone parlor
  • Cows milk three times daily
  • Daily milking average of 90 lb. per cow without rBST
  • Rolling herd average 27,500 lb. of milk per cow
  • Sand bedded free stall barn
  • Thirty five employees, seven of which are at the dairy. The remainder work in cheese production
  • Unpasteurized milk used to make Gouda cheese
  • Cheese most be stored for 60 days prior to sale
  • Cheese has won more than 115 awards

Take a tour of the Penterman Farm:

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